[StBernard] Transcript: President Bush has coffee with St. Bernard man

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Aug 23 22:11:03 EDT 2006

Transcript: President Bush has coffee with St. Bernard man



BUSH: I just had coffee with Rockey Vaccarella, St. Bernard's Parish,
Louisiana. He caught my attention because he decided to come up to
Washington, D.C., and make it clear to me and others here in the government
that there's some people down there still hurting in south Louisiana and
along the Gulf Coast.

And Rock's a plain-spoken guy. He's the kind of fellow I feel comfortable
talking to.

I told him that I understand that there's people down there that still need
help. And I told him the federal government will work with the state and
local authorities to get the help to them as quickly as possible.

VACCARELLA: That's right.

BUSH: He met with my friend Don Powell. Don's job is to cut through

I've told Rockey the first obligation of the federal government is to write
a check big enough to help the people down there. And I want to thank the
members of the Congress, of both political parties, that helped us pass 110
-- over $110 billion of appropriations. And that's going to help the folks.

VACCARELLA: Absolutely.

BUSH: And I told him that, to the extent that there's still bureaucratic
hurdles and the need for the federal government to help eradicate those
hurdles, we want to do that.


BUSH: Now, I know we're coming up on the first-year anniversary of Katrina,
and it's a time to remember. It's a time to particularly remember the
suffering that people went through.

Rockey lost everything. He lost -- he and his family had every possession
they had wiped out.

And it's a time to remember that people suffered. And it's a time to
recommit ourselves to helping them. But I also want people to remember that
a one-year anniversary is just that, because it's going to require a long
time to help these people rebuild.

And thank you for your spirit.

VACCARELLA: Thank you, Mr. President.

BUSH: It's an amazing country, isn't it where, where...

VACCARELLA: It is. You know, it's really amazing when a small man like me
from St. Bernard Parish can meet the president of the United States.

The president is a people person. I knew that from the beginning. I was
confident that I could meet President Bush. And my mission was very simple:
I wanted to thank President Bush for the millions of FEMA trailers that were
brought down there. They gave roofs over people's head. People had the
chance to have baths, air conditioning. We have TV. We have toiletry. We
have things, necessities that we can live upon.

But now I wanted to remind the president that the job's not done, and he
knows that. And I just don't want the government and President Bush to
forget about us.

And I just wish the president could have another term in Washington.


BUSH: Yes, wait a minute.

VACCARELLA: You know, I wish you had another four years, man. If we had this
president for another four years, I think we'd be great.


But we're going to move on.

President, it's been my pleasure.

BUSH: You're a good man, Rock. Thank you all.

VACCARELLA: You are, too.

BUSH: Thank you.

VACCARELLA: Thanks a bunch.

BUSH: You're welcome.

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